Driving is a privilege that is afforded to teens who are 16 years of age in the state of Pennsylvania. When the teen turns 16 and has met all of the legal requirements they can then apply for a driver’s license.
With their inexperience and maturity level, they are more likely than adults to be in a car accident. This is why auto insurers charge significantly higher rates for teenage drivers.
Determining who is at fault in a car accident will also determine which insurance company will need to pay damages to the other parties involved. If your teen has been injured in a car accident and it was not their fault, you will need the assistance of a Pittsburgh car accident attorney.
Parental Responsibility for Teen Car Accidents in Pittsburgh
Parents are responsible for their children until they reach the age of 18. This means they might be the responsible party if anything were to happen to their teenager. However, when it comes to a car accident, the parents might not be found liable in all cases.
Parents can be held responsible if it is found that the parent knew the teen would drive recklessly or was an incompetent driver. If the teen has a substance abuse problem or often drives distracted, for example, these are cases in which the parents might be held liable. Another instance would be if the parent sent the teen to run an errand on their behalf.
Essentially, if the parent was aware (or reasonably aware) that their teen could cause an accident, they can be held liable for damages.
Parents might not be held liable if the teen took the car without permission from their parents. If a parent does not have primary custody of the teen, they may also be exempt from liability. One other way that a parent might not be found liable is if they do not sign or give consent to the teen’s driver’s license application.
When is a Teen at Fault for an Auto Accident?
If a teen driver is found to be at fault during an accident, they are typically covered by their parent’s insurance policy. There may be some exceptions to this rule but more often than not this is the case. You must keep in mind that an insurance company may commit a bad faith claim during these cases which can complicate the issue further. It is best to contact a Pittsburgh auto accident attorney to ensure you and your teen are legally protected.
There may be multiple parties that can be held liable during a car accident. The first could be the teen driver themselves. While teens are still learning and are essentially under the care of their parents, they must also be responsible for their actions to some degree.
The parents could also be held liable if an accident occurs and it is their teen’s fault. Another party that may be held responsible for a teen-involved accident is the owner of the motor vehicle. This would come into play if the owner of the car is neither the teen nor their parents.
How Dangerous is Teen Driving?
The reality is that the risk of an accident happening when a teen has other teens in the vehicle is multiplied. It has also been found that one in every four teen drivers will be involved in a car accident within the first year of having their driver’s license.
The reason that teens are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident is that they might not understand the risks that are associated with driving and can often act recklessly. Accidents involving teens often involve them crashing into a fixed object such as a pole or tree. These types of accidents can result in serious and even fatal injuries
Speak with an Experienced Pittsburgh Auto Accident Attorney
If you or your teen were involved in a car accident, you will need to seek legal advice immediately, and this is where the experienced team at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman can become an invaluable resource. Call our office today at 412-567-1232 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.